Resort jubilee funding at risk

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:55 03 March 2010

VITAL funding to help stage a massive golden jubilee celebration at Felixstowe has been put at risk because the decision to give a grant has been "called in".

VITAL funding to help stage a massive golden jubilee celebration at Felixstowe has been put at risk because the decision to give a grant has been "called in".

It is the first time a decision by a cabinet member has been challenged since Suffolk Coastal council was modernised and its committee system scrapped.

Cabinet member Jane Skepper agreed to give a £2,000 grant towards the jubilee festival being staged with BBC Music Live – an event set to attract 30,000 visitors to the resort and provide an enormous boost to tourism.

The £23,000 event is already being supported financially by the town council, county council, National Lottery Awards for All scheme, with nearly half the cost being met by local businesses and sponsorship.

But the decision that Suffolk Coastal should also help has been challenged by councillors Christine Block and Peter Howard and the matter has now been "called in" for an inquiry.

Council leader Ray Herring said: "These decisions are all open to challenge by any other councillors, and for the first time after nearly six months a decision taken by a cabinet member has been called in.

"This will now be looked at closely by the finance management and review committee on Thursday."

The committee will choose whether to back the original decision, refer it back to the cabinet member with details of its concerns, or refer it to the next meeting of the full council.

"Thursday's meeting will receive a detailed report on the background to the decision to award a £2,000 grant to the festival and it will be interesting to find out whether it is the grant itself, and its size, that is the problem, or the way the decision was made," said Mr Herring.

"This is the first time that we have gone through this process and it should be reassuring for our residents to see it confirmed that the cabinet is not exercising its power in a vacuum, and that our decisions are there to be challenged."

The 11-hour Felixstowe Golden Jubilee Festival is being held on June 3 and will feature a 16 stages stretching along a mile of the seafront with dozens of bands from around the region playing a wide variety of styles of music.

Other events will include street entertainers – fire eaters, jugglers, stiltwalkers and buskers – Punch and Judy, a karaoke marathon, stalls, majorettes, refreshments, amusements, a world record DJ event in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, an air display and an It's A Knockout contest.

In the evening, while the music continues, there will be fireworks and lighting of a beacon as part of the national chain following the lighting of the first by the Queen, and a live broadcast on a big screen of the Buckingham Palace concert.

Suffolk Coastal is supporting the event in a number of ways including allowing use of council land, providing temporary car parking, and assisting with some of the event administration.


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